1. Any of several carnivorous burrowing mammals of the family Mustelidae, such as Meles meles of Eurasia or Taxidea taxus of North America, having short legs, long claws on the front feet, and a heavy grizzled coat.
2. The fur or hair of any of these mammals.
3. Any of several similar mammals, such as the ratel.
tr.v. badg·ered, badg·er·ing, badg·ers
To ask or nag (someone) about something in an annoying and persistent way; pester: badgered the boy into cleaning his room. See Synonyms at harass.
[Perhaps from BADGE.]
Word History: From an etymological point of view, the badger may simply be "the one that wears a badge." The Eurasian species of badger has a white head with a broad black stripe on each side of its snout, and the white area on its forehead may have brought to mind a badge, hence badger. This theory is supported by the fact that a common term for the badger in Middle and Early Modern English was bauson, which comes from the Old French word bausent, meaning "piebald, having a coat with black and white patches," and also "badger." The Old English word for the badger was broc, a word which survives in modern British English as brock, a word for the common badger, and also as the personal name Brock. Badger first appears in the early 16th century and eventually replaces brock and bauson in common usage.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.